"Two things we want out of life are..." I'm postmodern enough to know that I shouldn't trust any sentences that begin like that.
Rollins talks about needing to "joyously affirm the brokenness of our lives". Why? Because the good news of Christianity is that "you can't be satisfied, life is rubbish, we don't know the secret." It would be wrong to say that Rollins is "unbiblical" at this point, because Ecclesiastes is in the Bible. Still, Qoholeth calls these pieces of news "absurd" or "vanity" or "meaningless" as opposed to "good".
This is a contemporary case of tragic theology, or pathetic (from the Greek pathos) theology. David Hart unleashes a stinging critique of it in The Beauty of the Infinite and in an essay entitled No Shadow of Turning. I don't know which side I come down on. One proclaims that God cannot suffer if He is to be God; indeed, that God's impassibility is integral to the good news of Christianity. The other proclaims that God must suffer if He is to be God, and that in this divine suffering lies the heart of the gospel. "God suffers with you" are the words of comfort offered to the grieving. This, it should be clear, is no abstract theological matter.
I don't know what deep suffering -- the kind of suffering that can't be made sense of -- feels like. But I'm sceptical about whether joyously affirming the brokenness of our lives is a sufficiently Christian response to it. In fact, I'm sceptical about whether "response" is even the right word, because it seems to give suffering the first word, with the Christian faith (its speech and practices) then being some kind of coping mechanism for the "human condition" (which is precisely the understanding of Christianity that Rollins wants to do away with).
The problem I see in Rollins's theology is, ironically, the problem with much conservative theology: it does not know what to do with the life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus didn't go around joyously affirming brokenness. He went around making it whole. He did embrace brokenness, but not as one who saw the good in it. He embraced it so as to heal it.
I watched a film called The Sweet Hereafter a few days ago. It is an exceptional piece of work, centred around the tragedy of a school bus crash in rural Canada. A lawyer is on the scene, looking to make sense of the tragedy by finding someone to blame and sue. He tries to rally some of the townspeople, and eventually gets around to visiting a father whose two children died in the crash.
MITCHELL: I'm here about your children, Mr.Ansel. My name is...
BILLY: Mister, I don't want to know your name.
MITCHELL: I understand.
BILLY: No you don't.
MITCHELL: I can help you.
BILLY: Not unless you can raise the dead.
One can imagine that if this scene was in one of the Gospels, with Jesus playing the role of Mitchell, he would ask Billy where his children were buried, go to that place, and call them out of their coffins.
What is the church supposed to say and do in light of a Jesus like that?